Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Line

At least once a year there is an article such as this one in the local news. And it always makes me sad. I didn't know this rider, but I'd seen him around. Hard to miss a guy on bike with bunny boots.

I think that as bike commuters, most of us are aware everyday that we take a real risk by riding our bikes for transport. Yet we still do it. I've talked about this before so I won't go into it again.

Read the article. Then read the comments that people leave. Anytime there is an article about bikes the wolves come out and the comments start flowing. It's almost as hot of a topic as abortion, it seems.

I try to discount the commenters as trolls just doing their thing - trying to generate clicks and hits and responses. Yet, what concerns me is the fact that some readers, if they take the time to read the comments, may not understand the fact that these 'opinions' might not actually be opinions, but rather someone who is paid to make posts in order to drive traffic. Or the comments and responses devolve into a left vs. right political argument that uses so many rhetorical fallacies that they make no real sense whatsoever.

Why is riding a bike such a polarizing topic? Why is there so much fear that generates so much venomous commentary? Why does one side think that if you ride a bike you must be an agent of the other side and want to take all cars away? Why does one side try to paint the other side as freeloaders who don't pay their share and shouldn't be allowed on the roads as such? Why is everything so one side or the other?

It's like all sense and reason has exited in favor of the most simplistic arguments possible that are based only on emotional responses to an issue rather than on any type of intellectual exploration. And it comes from both sides - if you're not with us, you're against us.

Bullshit. That's what it is. And I've a real fear that this bullshit isn't going to work as any kind of fertilizer for something good. We've all seen what happens when you put too much fertilizer on a lawn...

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